Internet Marketing Explained

Definition of Internet Marketing and How to Use It to Build Your Home Business

marketing
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Definition of Internet Marketing:

The most basic explanation of Internet marketing is any sort of advertising, promotion or marketing tactic used online. This includes promotional websites, email marketing, and social media. 

The goal of Internet marketing includes:

  • Communicating a company's message about itself, its products, or its services.
  • Conducting research to identify a target market (demographics, preferences, and needs) and it's needs.
  • Selling goods, services, or advertising over the Internet.

Why Every Business Should Market Online

For a time, the Internet was seen as a novelty, and while some innovative businesses used it to promote their products and services, most existing businesses ignored it. Today however, ignoring the Internet in growing your business would be a fatal mistake. Consumers use the Internet to find information and resources, and if you're not there, they won't find you. Even if you have a local business listed in the Yellow Pages, odds are your customers will still go to the Internet before using their phone book.

Marketing online has many other benefits including:

  • Affordability: Many online marketing strategies are free (i.e. social media marketing) or very low cost.
  • Reach: This is especially true if you business isn't limited to your local area. The Internet reaches the four corners of the globe.
  • Always open: The Internet never sleeps. Night owls can learn about your business and even buy from you while you're sleeping.
  • Focus in on your target market. It's easy to find your target market online so you can save time and money on marketing strategies that speak directly to your most likely buyers.

Internet Marketing Strategies

When it comes to marketing online, you have many choices. Here are just a few options:

  • Website/Blog: Every business should have a website or blog. It can be an online storefront, or at the very least a hub that potential clients and customers can find to learn about and contact you.
  • Search engine marketing (SEM): While you don't want to rely solely on search engines to deliver potential clients and customers to your website, you don't want to ignore it either. SEO is an easy way to help search engines list you so your market can find you. Or you can pay to have your site highlighted on search engines through PPC.
  • Email: Every business should have an email list. It's the best way to stay in touch and build a relationship with your prospects and customers.You can lure subscribers to your list through a valuable lead magnet offer.
  • Social media: Consumers use social media to learn about your products and services, find great deals, get help and more. They also show preference to working with businesses that are responsive to them. Social media marketing is an excellent way to find your market and build a relationship with it.
  • Guest writing: Writing articles or guest blog posts is a free way to get in front of another business' market and show off your expertise. 
  • Affiliate programs: Offering compensation to others who promote your products and services on your behalf is not only affordable (you only pay when you have results), but also a great way to exponentially spread the word about your business. Instead of just you promoting, you'll have a team of sales people.
  • Paid advertising: There are many options for getting your ads online including text or banner ads on other websites, advertising through other websites' email lists, and pay-per-click promotions (i.e. Google Adwords or Facebook Ads).
  • Video/Podcasting: Having your own vlog or podcast not only offers a way to market your business, but also it can become another source of income through affiliate offers or selling ad space. Or you can pitch owners of vlogs and podcasts to be a guest on their shows.

One of the great aspects of online marketing, is how one well placed promotion can go viral, being shared from person to person through social media, email, blog posts and more. Great blog content, videos and social media that have visual interests are some of the best options for encouraging sharing.

 

But even if your marketing efforts don't go viral, an online presence is still crucial to helping potential clients and customer find your business. 

Updated August 2017 Leslie Truex